21.10.14

adolescence

You are the latest addition to my private collection of people. 

There are all sorts in there. An old woman I saw the day after I got my tenth standard board exam results. I was in a bus on the streets of Delhi. She was in a rickshaw with a bag of vegetables. A man whose butt crack was peeking from the back of his pants on a train. He was snoring on the upper berth of a train from Bhopal to Godhra. When we reached, he jumped off the upper berth, dragged his suitcase out, pushed me out of the way and got off the train. I can't remember his face, but I know his butt crack intimately. 

A woman with short hair I saw five years ago. She was in the library, going through books in the women's studies section. I practiced talking to her everyday for a whole week in the shower. I haven't seen her since, but I still have conversations with her sometimes. She has longer hair now, the kind that falls along her shoulders in waves. She sings like a dream. She sings in my dreams. 

You're different. You have a name and a place in my world. You like potatoes and spend a large part of our time together convincing me about them. You have a way of saying my name. You emphasise the first half, lilting on the second half. There is warmth in it, but there is ownership in it. I have never had a private person who could own my name. It says something of you, I am not sure what.

Your hands are a beautiful shade of dark. Which is strange, because nothing else about you is. But your fingers and long and warm. I’ve never kissed anyone with long fingers. Only stubby and fat. Or short and pretty. (With their nails either bitten or cut. Usually bitten off.) I'll very quickly skip everything else and arrive at your hair. It is almost straight, only slightly wavy where it is ponytailed, which is also a novelty. I’ve done the whole range of super crazy fizz to stick straight, but I haven’t done yours.

Faces are difficult. Yours, especially. I can think of everything in its own way. I know your ears. I know your teeth: There is something blackish stuck in them but your grin is overpowering. I know your lips, but not the way I would like to. Your nose hooks a bit like mine. Your eyes. But I can’t put them all together coherently in one face. It’s as if I have bits of a puzzle to put together, but just don’t know how. I always wonder if I will recognize you if I see you out of context. Suddenly in an airport. Or eating pani puri on the road. 

Do you like chaat? It’s an important parameter.

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